The Lakers will reportedly resign Quinn Cook, opening up a roster spot and flexibility under the cap.

Los Angeles Lakers are giving up fifth-year point guard Quinn Cook, according to Shams Charania of Athletic. Cook, a longtime Lakers fan who won a championship with the team last season, struggled to find minutes in a renewed rotation. The decision serves multiple purposes from a list building perspective.

The decision to resign Cook will not cost the Lakers money from a salary cap perspective. His contract was not guaranteed, and the deadline to renounce such agreements before guaranteeing them is Saturday, February 27. Apparently, the Lakers have decided they prefer the freedom that Cook gives to giving up keeping it. They can exercise that freedom in various ways.

The simplest thing would be to simply sign another player. The Lakers are reportedly interested in bringing back DeMarcus Cousins, who was fired by the Houston Rockets over the weekend. However, they couldn’t have booked him right away because they are pressed against the hard cover. By using the mid-level exception for non-contributors (at Montrezl Harrell) and the semi-annual exception (at Wes Matthews) this offseason, the Lakers pledged to stay below the $ 138.9 million cap for the entire season.

They cannot legally exceed it for any reason. With just over $ 138 million in salary on their books, they had less than $ 1 million to operate on. They couldn’t even have legally signed another player until February 24, when the prorated portion of the veteran minimum would drop enough to fit in their space. Now, they can sign another player a little earlier. With Cook gone, they now have two empty spots on the list to potentially use in the acquisition market. As long as they have 14 players when the dust settles, they are free to consider a variety of options.

One possible hidden explanation for this move is that the Lakers wanted to free up cash to use in a trade. With so little room under the cap before giving up Cook, they would have had trouble making an unbalanced trade from a cap perspective. Every penny counts, and now, the Lakers could potentially absorb a player who makes slightly more than anyone they send.

The Lakers have now lost three straight games without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, and it’s becoming clear their offense has flaws that need outside help. How Rob Pelinka will address those flaws remains to be seen, but resigning Cook gives him the flexibility to do it in any way he sees fit.

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